Donald Trump treats his White House Communications Director Hope Hicks like a daughter (he affectionately calls her “Hopey”). There is no one Trump trusts more. Hicks is his longest-serving aid whom he brought with him from his company. Pundits commenting on Hicks’ loyalty to Trump joked that she would be there to “turn the lights out when the Trump administration ends.”
Earlier this week, “White House communications director Hope Hicks refused to answer questions about the Trump administration that House investigators posed Tuesday as part of their probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.” In Russia probe, Hope Hicks refuses to answer questions about Trump administration:
But under pressure from lawmakers, she began to offer some details about the transition period Tuesday afternoon, according to House Intelligence Committee members of both parties, who said Hicks and her attorneys agreed to address topics broached with the Senate Intelligence Committee in an earlier private interview.
Democrats and Republicans emerging from the House Intelligence Committee’s interview with Hicks on Tuesday noted that, at first, she categorically resisted answering any questions about events and conversations that had occurred since President Trump won the election, even though Trump has not formally invoked executive privilege with the panel.
“No one’s asserting privilege; they’re following the orders of the White House not to answer certain questions,” said Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), a committee member, after the interview had been going for about four hours.
“There’s no hope to get all our answers,” he added, noting the pun and adding: “Tip your servers.”
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Campaigns, Congress, Corruption, Crime, Elections, Ethics, International, Justice, Law Enforcement, Party Politics, President, Scandals
Tagged Department of Justice, executive privilege, FBI, National Security, obstruction of justice, Russia, Special Counsel
The “Secretary of Everything” in the Trump administration, son-in-law Jared Kushner, is having a really bad week.
Jared had his security clearance pulled by Chief of Staff General John Kelly because he has not been able to pass a FBI background check after more than a year, because Jared has not been forthcoming about his foreign contacts and business dealings on his SF-86 form. For anyone else, that gets you terminated and/or prosecuted for lying on the SF-86 form.
“Officials in at least four countries have privately discussed ways they can manipulate Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with intelligence reports on the matter.” Kushner’s overseas contacts raise concerns as foreign officials seek leverage.
We previously learned that Jared was negotiating financing for his business interests during the transition. Mueller Eyes Kushner’s Pursuit of Foreign Financing:
During the transition period, Kushner (reportedly) met with the chairman of the Chinese firm Anbang Insurance, in hopes of securing a $400 million investment in his family’s flagship property at 666 Fifth Avenue. Meanwhile, his company also (reportedly) sought $500 million in capital from the former prime minister of Qatar for the same project.
And let’s not forget that Jared asked the Russian ambassador for a “back channel” to Moscow to avoid detection by the U.S. intelligence agencies during the transition. Russian ambassador told Moscow that Kushner wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin.
‘The Kush’ is a whole bucket full of red flags of national security risks. He should have been gone a long time ago.
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Congress, Corruption, Crime, Ethics, International, IOKIYAR, Justice, Law Enforcement, Media, Party Politics, President, Scandals
Tagged Defraud America, FBI, Foreign Policy, influence peddling, National Security, pay-to-play, Russia, security clearances, Special Counsel
The 2018 mid-term elections are vulnerable to attack from what the Russians may have learned from their probing cyber attacks on state election systems during the 2016 election.
NBC News reports, U.S. intel: Russia compromised seven states prior to 2016 election/span>:
The U.S. intelligence community developed substantial evidence that state websites or voter registration systems in seven states were compromised by Russian-backed covert operatives prior to the 2016 election — but never told the states involved, according to multiple U.S. officials.
Top-secret intelligence requested by President Barack Obama in his last weeks in office identified seven states where analysts — synthesizing months of work — had reason to believe Russian operatives had compromised state websites or databases.
Three senior intelligence officials told NBC News that the intelligence community believed the states as of January 2017 were Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Texas and Wisconsin.
The officials say systems in the seven states were compromised in a variety of ways, with some breaches more serious than others, from entry into state websites to penetration of actual voter registration databases.
While officials in Washington informed several of those states in the run-up to the election that foreign entities were probing their systems, none were told the Russian government was behind it, state officials told NBC News.
All state and federal officials who spoke to NBC News agree that no votes were changed and no voters were taken off the rolls.
Posted in Arizona State Legislature, AZBlueMeanie, Budgets, Congress, Counties, Election Integrity, Elections, Governor, Infrastructure, Legislation, President, Scandals
Tagged Arizona Secretary of State, Cyber Crime, Cyber Security, Cyber War, Russia, voting machines
Remember the right-wing conspiracy theory that there was a stand down order in Benghazi! That FOX News myth has been entirely discredited despite Hollywood fiction like 13 Hours.
But it is now increasingly fair to ask whether there is at least an implied “stand down order” from the Trump White House to the intelligence agencies to not take more aggressive actions to thwart Russia’s ongoing cyber warfare against the U.S. and to protect our elections.
Last week at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) pressed FBI Director Christopher Wray, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Cia Director Mike Pompeo, and National Security Director Admiral Mike Rogers on whether they had received specific direction from President Trump to blunt future Russian interference efforts. The officials indicated they had not received a specific direction of the sort from the president. Live coverage: FBI director testifies to Senate Intelligence Committee.
This despite the fact that all the intelligence agency heads reconfirmed that they believe the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, and CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s assessment that there has been no decrease in Russian interference since.
“We have seen Russian activity and intentions to have an impact on the next election cycle here,” Pompeo told Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.).
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats warned that Russia views its influence efforts against the 2016 election as successful, and warned that the 2018 midterms could become a target for Moscow.
“There should be no doubt that Russia perceived its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations,” Coats said.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo asserted that the intelligence community is engaged in a “significant effort” to counter Russian and other foreign influence operations against the United States.
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Budgets, Congress, Constitution, Corruption, Election Integrity, Elections, Infrastructure, International, Military, Party Politics, President, Scandals, War
Tagged Cyber Crime, Cyber War, Foreign Policy, Intelligence Agencies, National Security, Russia